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Silent and Hidden between You and the Lord

The Lord’s Supper Gospel Readings:

Insights from Father Juniper and Mother Therese

Father Juniper: Brothers and sisters, welcome today to the Holy Gospel for Ash Wednesday.

This is what it's all about. We only go to our Lord Jesus Christ in silence and it's only between you and Him when you fast or when you repent. This is not a public game. This is not a movie or a theatre stuff. This is serious. We go in a silent place like always. If you want to approach the Father, you're going to a silent place. You meet Him there and the Lord knows everything about you.

When you fast do not appear for other people because we have the tendency, as all men, to show, “Oh, I'm doing a fast now, I cannot eat…!” How do I know this so well? Because I know it for myself.

It's always already in the pride—I stepped already in the pride.

When I go buy stuff, buy food, and I was suddenly in the butcher's shop to buy some stuff, and I go in and then I say, “Aww! This is nice…!” And in my joy, I'm not even thinking about it, I said, “Oh! Let's have this one, I want to try this wonderful, nice prosciutto!” The lady, the sales lady, so beautiful, she cuts it nicely for both of us, for Mother Therese and me. She makes four slices, beautiful, thin prosciutto slices.

It's really hard… What should you do now? I really do not want to eat it—no! I want to eat it, but I do fast! And this, in a second, I have to make a decision now: What is good? If I say no, also it's not good because she's going to be maybe disappointed. This lady gives us so a nice and loving, beautiful, nice gift. Very respectful of what she did there. Receives us with all her heart. She is the owner of the shop—it's a family-owned shop—and she gives you this, and you say, “No…. can't do this…... I'm fasting.”

No, but I didn't say that!

I remember one time I ate it already! I was so into it because I love the food! I just did not even realize that I was fasting! So, everybody was happy until I was going out and said, “Hey, I'm fasting today, I ate it!” I ate this slice, right? But then I ate nothing actually for the whole day.

So, you see, my spirit did the right thing.

And on the other side, it was the second time the same was happening, and I was pointing to my stomach, I said, “Oh, no, I have a stomach problem.” It was true. If I would eat this right away, it would harm me.

For one time, there were visitors here when I really couldn't eat—I broke so many times the fast! And when we were coming here the first time, and then they were invited, they brought you the best food and they said, “Come on, sit down, have a wine, no problem at all!” But this time I said, no.

It's nice to have an excuse sometimes. You know, it's nice to have company, sometimes it's just good to do it. But then was the time, I knew I cannot do this anymore. I went out to these men who already had the good food, so I said, “Look, I'm not eating, but SHE IS EATING!” AND THEY WERE HAPPY!!

These three men were happy, they were serving her—and Sister Therese, she was happy too! You know, finally eating good, nothing to do, she was getting served! They were cutting the salami, they were giving her the wine, and I was like I could point to her! And I was so happy, I said, “Mamma mia, that's good, that's the best I did today!” She had to eat because she—you know when you look at her, she really needs food! [Therese cracks laughing]

That's very simple, she can eat a thousand people. When you look at me, they say, “Okay, this guy is fasting, I know that he has to fast!”

So that was also very funny. But I totally understand.

And I was also getting many, many times, the Rhemas: It is hidden! The best, it is all hidden with you and your connection with the Lord Jesus Christ—and this has power.

There is some stuff that is also good that it's between you and Him. You talk to Him and this is very intimate. This is what He honors because when you don't go and run to the outer world to the people, that means you trust Him and you're only living from His grace and also from His praises.

He will praise you!

When you do a fast, He loves this. It doesn't matter if it's a small offering. But this is what He wants, He wants to praise you, He wants to give you all His anointing, all that He has. This is the best you can get! Very big sign when you give it to Him. When you really, really only trust in Him. Even He would say, “Juniper, you did a good job. Even [if] you messed it up, I saw your heart.”

This is a stuff between you and Him. And you just want to be praised by Him and not from the world.

It's no value if they say to me, “Oh, yes, you’re doing a good job. You're really, really—wow, you're fasting, Oh, you are tough,” I would also— “You are holy!” then, “You're with Jesus, you give your life to Jesus, mamma mia, this— Juniper you are a [buh!]— You are a wonderful priest! Fasting there!” and then they say, Wow, and then they even get jealous. Now we come to the next point: they're going to get jealous. “How can this guy fast and I cannot do it even. I cannot even… I cannot even stop smoking.”

See what all bad comes from this, when you actually go outside in the whole world and tell all this kind of stuff, there is so much bad coming within, so much evil you already planted there. When you do not tell anybody, when you only tell the Lord and you only keep the stuff with the Lord, which is totally a law, actually, when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord, you just go to Him and tell Him all this kind of stuff.

If you're living in a community, you have to tell them when you fast. In the community, they live so close!

I was living in another monastery. You have to tell them because I said, “Guys, I cannot come. I needed to fast because my stomach was rebelling.” It was painful. The food was good but after I was dying in my monastery room. I had to make a fast and I told them if I was going to come to the food times, I was going to mess it up. I can’t!

I cannot sit there because I love it too much! I love to be in their company. And you know, in Italy, you cannot stay— In Italy when they say, “Oh, come on!” and then comes the mama, the really classical mama who cooks the best food ever, and then, “Come on, have a little bit,” you know, “Poco, poco—poco no problemo, eh?”

How could you say no? I mean, you have this community… —I love to be together and eat together, it's a very, very important part. Jesus did it too. There is a really good power in this. Eating together is like a commitment to each other. When you have a good family or good brothers and sisters, they will support this!

Not me though, I will tempt you because I want to know how far I can go!

Not really! But you know.

So that really makes sense, just go with the Lord, go into your inner room. Inner room is like in your heart which is wrapped around His heart. The internal man, internal silence. There you go and there you really have the conversation with no words, actually, that’s the best. Or you have your repentance. Give Him all the honor, [to] the Lord Jesus Christ, especially now in the Lent.

Holy Spirit will guide you in this prayer. I don't even have to tell you what you have to pray. When you go in inner silence in your inner room with the Lord, I guarantee you, you know what to pray. Sometimes even go on your knees and cry is a prayer... you don't even have to talk for this.


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